Introducing the Labor of Love Project

A rainy afternoon at Luscious Layers

A rainy afternoon at Luscious Layers

I have been a very light blogger, posting incidental events, expos, and styled shoots, and I've been unsatisfied. I've thought about what I can sustain interest in over the whole year and I've come up with a project. I'm calling it the Labor of Love series. It's born out of a couple motivations.

The first is that I don't know what other people do all day and I'm curious to find out. I share an office with Sarah Drake and I have been fascinated to see what is involved in lining envelopes, sewing lace, tea-staining, tying tiny silk ribbons for hundreds of invitations, and all the conversations, design drafts, etc., that go into her work. If I could watch other people work all day I would make that a career.

The second motivation is that the people I've met in the wedding industry in Chicago have struck me as unusually dedicated, and, then drilling down further, I've found something that is true with many small businesses, and then further down, one's that are women-owned, that they tend to be run by people who are enormous givers--who also often undervalue their time. It is a struggle I recognize in myself as well. And then, in a cruel counterpoint to that, their is a strain of advice, like this, for couples getting married, that works off the premise that wedding professionals are out to trick couples into spending more than they need and want to on their wedding. There is a lot to say to address that. But here I will just say that it seems especially absurd when I see wedding professionals I know hunt down the exact shade of ribbon to match the bride's grandmother's wedding dress that will be incorporated into the bride's bouquet. Beautiful ideas take work. And the wedding professionals I know are doing their utmost to make the weddings they work on exactly how the couple has envisioned it. Today, I was talking with a florist friend who is working on a wedding that the couple described as End of the Raj/1920s Hotel that will make their guests feel the gravitas of the moment and the fragility and mortality of their lives. And the florist says, "Hell, yeah! I can do that with flowers."

The wedding pros I know are their clients' biggest cheerleaders and I've felt that the negative characterization of wedding professionals can only thrive when clients are not familiar with the work involved. A wedding may be the only time in many people's lives when they will ever contract for any of these specific services, and I've realized how much detailed unfolding of the process is needed to help clients understand what is involved in creating their wedding.

So, those are my motivations: curiosity about what other wedding professionals do in their work to educate myself, and also in the hope that showing the work will be helpful for couples planning their weddings.

Over the course of the year, I will spend time with a planner, a caterer, an invitation designer, a florist, a baker, a photographer, and a dj...and maybe a few more. I'll shadow each business for a few hours, do short interviews, and simply observe. I have a Canon Rebel and I'll take photos, and post the results here.